The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was founded in 1997 by Laloo Prasad Yadav. The party came about as a result of Lalu Prasad Yadav, ex-president of Janata Dal, being evicted by Sharad Yadav, the then president, on embezzelment charges over the farm support funds. Yadavs and Muslims form the mass base of the party and are relatively politically active segments of Bihar's population. In 2008, RJD received the status of recognized national level party following its excellent performance in north-eastern states.
In March, 1998 national elections, RJD won 17 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar but failed to garner votes in other states. In 1998, RJD formed an alliance with Samajwadi Party as an anti-BJP secular coalition but the coalition failed to generate support.
In the October 1999 elections, RJD formed an alliance with Congress but lost 10 Lok Sabha seats including the seat of Lalu Prasad Yadav. In the 2000 state elections however, it performed unexpectedly well - winning a majority of the seats in the state assembly. Continuing its upswing in electoral fortunes, the RJD won 21 Lok Sabha seats in the 2004 elections in alliance with Indian National Congress. However in 2005, the RJD had to reliinquish the power due to its poor perframnce-with a taly of 75 seats- in the elections. In the state elections held later in 2005- as a result of no party being able to form a government - RJD continued its downward slide losing 21 seats.
The RJD gained power in Bihar under the Chief Ministership of Laloo Yadav and then Rabri Devi,- wife of Laloo Prasad Yadav. After February 2005 elections, Bihar came under President's Rule and new elections brought in NDA to the power. The RJD is also a member of India's governing coalition led by the Congress Party.